Howard W. Robertson

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Howard W. Robertson

Howard W. Robertson (born September 19, 1947) is an American poet and novelist.


Robertson was born in Eugene, Oregon.[1] He married Margaret Collins on August 10, 1991, and has two daughters and two sons.[1] He received a B.A. in Russian (1970) and an M.A. in Comparative Literature (1978) from the University of Oregon as well as a Master's in Library Science (1975) from the University of Southern California.[1] He was the Slavic Catalog Librarian and Bibliographer at the University of Oregon Library during 1975-1993.[1] He is a past President of the Lane Literary Guild.[1] He has been a full-time poet since 1993.[1]

Robertson was a long-haul truck driver in the American West during 1994-1995.[2][3] He is a 2007 Jack Straw Writer with Jack Straw Productions in Seattle, Washington.[4] Biographical information about Howard W. Robertson is included in an interview by American Book Award winner Matt Briggs, available in a podcast on the Jack Straw Productions website.[5] Robertson read his poems at the 2007 Burning Word Festival.[6] Robertson was the Poet-in-Residence at the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington campus in Seattle during April 2010.[7] Robertson is part-Cherokee and gave a reading together with other Native American authors at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, during November, 2010.[8] Eric Alan interviewed Howard W. Robertson on NPR-Living Large on April 18, 2013, and a recording of this interview is available online.[9] Robertson gave a reading as part of the Third Saturday Reading Series at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, on April 20, 2013, and a video of this reading is available on YouTube.[10] Howard W. Robertson was interviewed about his novel, Peculiar Pioneer, on KLCC FM on December 4, 2013, and a recording of this interview is available on the KLCC website.[11] Together with his wife Margaret Robertson, he gave a joint reading about sustainability at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, on April 5, 2014, videos of which are available on YouTube.[12][13]


Robertson defines poetry broadly as a very inclusive genre, referring to the archaic meaning of "poem": a made thing, ποίημα.[14] He consequently considers each of his poems to be an ode, a fiction, an essay, an abstract painting, and a jazz improvisation.[14] He describes his poetry as a mimesis of the streaming of Being through Nonbeing.[14] He intends a continuous poetic flow that pauses at times but seldom stops, so that his line-breaks become purely visual and do not halt the forward progress of the poetic line when spoken.[14] He means for his poetry to affirm with Aristotle that truth is most universally told through a blend of the fictional and the factual.[14] He conceives each poem as an essay of existential discovery, an enterprising foray into the discursive wilderness.[14] He maintains that his poetry portrays visually the drift and swirl of the things themselves and the interconnected chiaroscuro of shadowy essence and shimmering everydayness.[14] He bases his work on the belief that reality never fails and that the phenomenal revelatory streaming of its representation in his poetry is authentic.[14] He credits Heidegger, Whitman, Pushkin, Bashō, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Ovid as the major influences on his writing.[14]

His first book of poems was titled to the fierce guard in the Assyrian Saloon and was published by Ahsahta Press at Boise State University in 1987.[15] His second book of poems was titled Ode to certain interstates and Other Poems and was published by Clear Cut Press in 2003.[16] His third book of poems was titled The Bricolage of Kotegaeshi and was published by The Backwaters Press in 2007.[17] His fourth book of poems, The Gaian Odes, won the Sinclair Poetry Prize[18] and was published by Evening Street Press in 2009.[19] His fifth book of poems, Two Odes of Quiddity and Nil, was published in 2010 by Publication Studio.[20] His sixth book of poems, Odes to the Ki of the Universe, was published in 2012 by Publication Studio.[21] His seventh book of poems, The Green Force of Spring, was published in 2013 by Publication Studio.[22] His eighth book of poems, Ode to Certain Interstates, was published in 2013 by Publication Studio.[23] His ninth book of poems, Odes to the Ki of the Universe, 2nd ed. rev., was published in 2013 by Publication Studio.[24] His novel, Peculiar Pioneer, was published in 2013 by Publication Studio.[25]

List of publications[edit]

  • Yellow Medicine Review (Fall 2013, pp. 117-132)
  • Yellow Medicine Review (Spring 2011, pp. 69-82)
  • Yellow Medicine Review (Spring 2010, pp. 178-184)
  • Literal Latte: The Anthology (iUniverse, 2008, pp. 203-208)
  • Where We Live Now (, 2008, pp. 393-400)
  • Snow Monkey (November 2008, webpage)
  • Jack Straw Writers Anthology (Jack Straw Productions, 2007, pp. 28-32)
  • SLAB (issue 1, 2006, pp. 11-12)
  • Square Lake (no. 5, spring 2004, pp. 52-53)
  • The Clear Cut Future (Clear Cut Press, 2003, pp.90-103)
  • Tor House Newsletter (summer 2003, p. 3)
  • Hipfish (April 2003, p. 31)
  • Emily Dickinson Awards Anthology (Universities West Press, 2002, pp. 20-21)
  • Nest (summer 2001, pp. 129-132)
  • Literal Latte (v. 4, no. 2, November/December 1997, p. 16)
  • Nimrod (v. 41, no. 1, fall/winter 1997, pp. 113-120)
  • Fireweed (v. 8, no. 4, summer 1997, pp. 20-21; v. 7, no. 4, summer 1996, pp. 13-16; v. 7, no. 3, spring 1996, p. 45; v. 4, no. 2, January 1993, p. 33; and v. 1, no. 2, January 1990, pp. 17-20)
  • The Ahsahta Anthology (Ahsahta Press, 1996, pp. 204-209)
  • Pacifica (1996, p. 2; and 1995, pp. 3-4)
  • Ergo! (1993, pp. 74-76)
  • Croton Review (no. 6, 1983, p. 4)
  • Yet Another Small Magazine (v. 2, no. 1, 1983, p. 5)
  • Yellow Silk (no. 6, winter 1983, p. 5)
  • Negative Capability (v. 2, no. 4, fall 1982, p. 84)
  • Pinchpenny (v. 3, no. 2, April/May 1982, pp. 14-15)
  • Assembling (no. 11, 1981; no. 8, 1978; and no. 7, 1977)
  • Laughing Unicorn (v. 2, no. 1, 1980, p. 16)
  • Glassworks (no. 3, 1978, pp. 47-49)
  • Laughing Bear (no. 6, 1978, pp. 21-27; and no. 2/3, 1977, pp. 57-59)
  • Interstate (no. 9, 1977, p. 89).


Robertson's poetry has won the Tor House Robinson Jeffers Prize in 2003,[26] the Elizabeth R. Curry Poetry Prize at Slippery Rock University in 2006,[27] the Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press in 2009,[28] and the Atlanta Review's International Merit Award in 2014.[29] He has also won the Bumbershoot Writers-in-Performance Award in 1993, the Pacifica Award in 1995, and the Literal Latte Award in 1997.[1]



External links[edit]